Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, the company that would become Longines really came into its own in 1860 when Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, took the watch maker’s reigns. Under Francillon, the company moved to a site called Les Longines on the river Suze in 1867, trademarked the name Longines in 1880, and registered the famous winged-hourglass logo in 1889.
Of course, Francillon did more than see to the company’s marketing needs. He also oversaw technological innovations that would make Longines one of the world’s most respected watch makers. One of his first decisions was to introduce anchor escapements into Longines timepieces. Then, in 1888, he presided over Longines’s first certified chronometer.
By 1909, Longines had enough experience with small-caliber movements that it could devote more of its attention to the jewelry watches and wristwatches that would make it famous. Two years later, it introduced a barrel-shaped wristwatch that is considered the precursor of the Longines Evidenza line, which flourished in the 1920s.
As it turns out, the winged-hourglass was a prescient symbol for a company that created numerous timepieces for pilots. In 1919, Longines became the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation; in 1925, a Longines accompanied aviator Antonio Locatelli on a flight to the North Pole region; and in 1926, Walter Mittelholzer wore a Longines when he flew from Switzerland to Iran.
But the association really took off, if you will, in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic. A Longines measurement device at Roosevelt Field in Long Island marked the moment he took off; a similar Longines timepiece at Le Bourget Airfield in Paris where he landed recorded the time of the flight: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds.
While in the air, Lindbergh had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, including the perfect watch, which he eventually designed for Longines. His Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle, introduced in 1932, used high-frequency quartz regulators to aid in the navigation of transatlantic flights by showing both Greenwich Mean Time and the corresponding hour angle. Needless to say, a Lindbergh Hour Angle from the 1930s is one of the most collectible antique Longines wristwatches available today.
The introduction of a wrist chronograph in 1936 allowed the aviation connection to continue in 1938, when Howard Hughes broke the speed record for a flight around the world. By t...
Calendars, water-resistance, and self-winding mechanisms were added as features to Longines watches during the 1940s. Gold and diamonds became more common as post-war prosperity allowed Longines to go after the luxury market.
And then, in 1954, Longines introduced one of its most enduring sports-lifestyle brands, the Conquest. The handsome Flagship followed in 1957. A vintage Conquest or Flagship from the 1950s is as prized by collectors today as it was by customers in the mid-20th century. Another collectible wristwatch to look from the late 1950s is the Jamboree.
Key terms for Antique and Vintage Longines Wristwatches:
Chronograph: A watch that also records time intervals, like a stopwatch.
Chronometer: A watch that has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute not to lose more than four seconds per day, nor to gain more than six.
Escapement: A device that converts the pressure of a spring or coil into a fixed release of movement.
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Artemus de Almeida wins Longines Grand Prix of Sao PauloEurosport.com AU, October 20th
Held at the Paulista Equestrian Society in Sao Paulo, the Longines Grand Prix attracted an audience of more than 15,000 spectators, with the five day competition event seeing just over 37,000 in attendance overall. The competition also saw points...Read more
Longines FEI World Cup Jumping 2014/2015World Tempus (press release), October 20th
This weekend in Oslo took place the first round of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping series, consisting of twelve unique qualifying opportunities for the coveted final in Las Vegas in April 2015. The Norwegian qualifying round saw the victory of Jur...Read more
Allen breaks into Longines top 20Irish Independent, October 14th
Denis Lynch is next best of the Irish in the Longines world rankings, improving six places to number 29, while Darragh Kenny has also improved by six places to register at 36th in the top 100. Cameron Hanley, Shane Breen and Conor Swail appear at 56th, ...Read more
On the Scene at the Inaugural Longines Los Angeles MastersHaute Living, October 1st
The four-day event came to a close on Sunday afternoon with eighteen-year-old Belgian rider Jos Verlooy taking the top prize in the Longines Grand Prix, the most prestigious class of the four-day competition. Verlooy emerged the winner with a timing of ...Read more
Bruce Springsteen and Bill Gates Cheer on Their Daughters at the Longines Los ...Hollywood Reporter, September 29th
Where else can you see the world's top show jumpers, Hollywood stars, industry leaders and designer brands including Kingsland Equestrian, Gucci, Lexus, and, of course, Longines, all in one place? The Masters took over downtown L.A., which is more...Read more
Jessica Springsteen is stunning in leather minidress at Longines Masters eventDaily Mail, September 26th
She's the daughter of musical legend Bruce Springsteen and his wife, singer and guitarist Patti Scialfa. But Jessica Springsteen proved she's a star of her own Thursday night when she attended Longines Los Angeles Opening Night Gala at the LA...Read more
Longines Los Angeles MastersKTLA, September 25th
During the four days of the event, the Longines Los Angeles Masters will offer its guests exceptional competitions, exhilarating sporting experience combined with prestigious social event celebrating the essence of Los Angeles lifestyle and glamor...Read more
Jessica Springsteen, Hannah Selleck Among High-Profile Horse Riders at ...Variety, September 24th
From polo to show jumping to racing, equestrian sports have always fascinated Hollywood. Showbiz will get a chance to indulge in its love of horses with the debut of the Longines Los Angeles Masters Sept. 25-28 at the Los Angeles Convention Center...Read more